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Aliens: Colonial Marines on PC, Xbox 360, PS3

Released last February, Aliens; Colonial Marines is the latest shooter from Texas-based developer Gearbox Software, who are most known for the Borderlands games, Half-Life expansions, Brothers In Arms, and Duke Nukem Forever. This FPS, made as a sequel to James Cameron's film Aliens, opened to mostly negative reception. But is A:CM that bad? As a fan of the Aliens franchise, I really enjoyed the game and found it full of value. Graphically, Colonial Marines is not groundbreaking, but still good looking. Running on a modified Unreal engine, Colonial Marines looks best in its most claustrophobic, showing off really good lighting effects. That's not to say Colonial Marines looks bad in its bigger environments. The open areas on LV-426 show off the destruction of Hadley's Hope. The cutscenes, however, are a mixed bag. Some of the cutscenes show off really good production value. The rest of them look like they're from the PS2. Story wise, this was a game made for fans of the film. Set 17 weeks after the events of Aliens, Colonial Marines has players in the role of military grunt Corporal Christopher Winter. Sent along with a military squad to the Sulaco (the ship from Aliens) to see what happened, Winter and the rest of the squad soon becomes involved in a plot of the ruthless Weyland-Yutani Corporation. The locations of the game range from the Sulaco to Hadley's Hope, the colony on LV-426. Fans of the film will recognize these locations, as well as the various references to the film. This is a game made mostly for the fans of Aliens. Fans of Borderlands will also enjoy this game, as Colonial Marines shares many things with Borderlands. The game includes a campaign, playable solo and cooperative (2 players split-screen, 4 people online), and a multiplayer. The campaign can last up to 8 hours if you play correctly, but can be replayed to find the various hidden items and to further level up your marine (Yes. Colonial Marines features a level system). The multiplayer is amazing addictive, with various modes that are sure to please any player. The most basic mode is Team Deathmatch, where each team compete to see who can get the most kills. The second mode is a "King Of The Hill"-like mode called Extermination, where the marines must capture certain areas to destroy Xenomorph eggs, while the Xenos defend those points. The third mode, titled Survival, has the marines trying to survive the most waves while the Xenos try to kill them all. The forth and final mode, titled Escape, works exactly like Left 4 Dead. All of these modes included 2 rounds per match, allowing the players to play as each species. Both the Xenos and marines have a level system, each one separate from the other. Xeno players will have to rely completely on multiplayer to level up. Aside from the occasionally bad cutscene, Aliens: Colonial Marines is finally a game worthy of having "Aliens" in the title, and is worth a buy.

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